“Old Reliable” Andy Allison

“[Allison] opened the contest by sending a ball over Cuthbert’s head for three bases.”

“Eckford vs. Athletic,” Times Union, September 17, 1869: 3.

Andy Allison was a member of the Eckford Base Ball Club in the late 1860s and early 1870s. For one year, the Eckford club paid the $10 fee to join the National Assocation – so Allison has a stat line for the 1872 season in your baseball encyclopedia.

Andrew Kent Allison was born in 1848 (or possibly late 1847) to James and Jane Allison – arriving in one of the five New York boroughs, but soon after the family had moved to Brooklyn.  A Scottish immigrant (like his wife) James was a laborer, spending many years in the Brooklyn shipyards.  Andrew was the second of at least six children.

By the time Allison became an adult, he had been apprenticed in two things – printing and baseball.  He appears in newspapers as the leadoff hitter and first baseman for the Eckfords – one assumes that he may have played for some of the other amateur teams of the area before joining the Eckford club and serving as a board member.  His reputation was strong enough that other clubs used Allison as an umpire.  And, an 1872 article referred to Allison as “Old Reliable.”

As mentioned, the Eckford were at least a semi-professional operation but in 1872 they were playing with the professionals.  The Eckford lost eleven straight games in the early summer.  A number of the National Association teams folded and the Eckford were able to add players from two other teams.  In their final 18 games, the Eckford won three – two of them against their long time rivals, the Atlantics.  And with that, the Eckford returned to their amateur roots.  Allison stayed on, playing and umpring games as they were created.  For his major league career – if you want to call it that – Allison appeared in 22 league games, getting just 15 hits, scoring nine times and driving in ten runs.  Two of his hits were doubles.  His final batting average was a rather weak .163.

Allison was involved in local Republican politics in later years, but his social life caught up with him – alcoholism contributed to his death by heart paralysis on March 21, 1897.  He was no more than 49 years old.  He left behind a wife, Elizabeth (Reynolds), and four children.  His remains lie in Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn.


1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 US Censuses
NY State Death Certificate
1855, 1875, 1892 NY State Census

“Eckford vs. Athletic,” Times Union, September 17, 1869: 3.

“Notes,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 16, 1871: 3.

“The Eckford Base Ball Club,” Times Union, April 3, 1872: 4.


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